Take Inventory

Before you start to furnish your new apartment, make sure you know exactly what you need. You don’t want to spend money on purchases you don’t really need or already have, especially if you are running on a tight budget. Your inventory of things for your new home may include items that friends or family no longer need and are willing to donate so keep this in mind.

Use our ”First Move Checklist” tool to help you take inventory.

Define what you want/need

Now that you know what you have, its time to determine what you need.  Evaluate the amount of space you have in your new home. Do you need one couch or two? Do you have room for a desk? A dining room table? When you know what is on your list of things to purchase, you can prepare a budget. Keep your eyes and ears open in case family or friends are thinking of giving something away that you may need.

Decide what kind of look you want

Before you start shopping, you should decide what kind of look you are going for in your new home. Do you want things to have a modern, sleek look or traditional and homey? You can also pick a theme for rooms in the house like cities of the world, sports, movies and actors or something simple, abstract or with bright colours. Picking a theme helps you decorate with paintings and accessories and leads well into choosing colours for the room.

Pick your main colours

When you furnish and decorate a room you should have a key colour scheme in mind so that at the end of the day things don’t look randomly thrown together. If you are not permitted to paint in your new home because the landlord does not allow it, you can still use your theme colours to create a great finished look with pillows, prints, table cloths, curtains or lamps. Try not to focus on too many colours at once and compliment your main colour with more neutral tones like white, grey, black or beige. For example, if your main colour is blue, compliment it with a light grey or white. If you main colour is green, compliment it with a beige accent or soft yellow.

Remember that if you want a more cozy finished effect use “warm colours” that include yellow, orange or reds. If you are looking for a more spacious, classy look, use “cool colours” like blue, violet or green.

Shop around

Don’t buy the first thing you find. Take some time to shop around and look at different items, prices and stores. You may be surprised with what you end up finding if you take more time to look around. If you end up buying the first thing you saw then you will know it was meant to be.  By shopping around you also may find what you are looking for at a reduced price or on sale. You may even decide after looking around long enough that you like a different colour scheme or style that is available, apart from your original choice.

Thrift shops

Shopping in thrift shops or second hand stores is a great way to find bargains. The VON, NOVA and Salvation Army offer second hand furniture at great prices and the proceeds help these organizations help others.  Scuffed furniture can be sanded and stained or painted.  Some furniture may need to be upholstered or cleaned.

Don’t buy everything at once

Even if you need to buy almost everything for your new apartment, don’t buy it all at once. The first reason is that your bank account will take a huge hit. Considering that the cost of purchases like couches, tables, or a bed can be quite significant, buying everything at once definitely adds up. The second reason not to buy everything at once is that it takes some time to move things in, place them properly and buying everything at once could be overwhelming and cause clutter. Finally, if you get tempted into purchasing everything as the same time from once specific store, you might get home only to realize that your bedroom or kitchen now looks exactly like a showroom and has no personal touch.  Start with the necessities like basic seating and a bed and build from there.

Make it your own

No matter what your budget, what is new or what is old, you will take more pleasure in your apartment if it reflects “you”. It’s going to be your home for the next months or years so you should feel comfortable and add your own personal touch. Pictures of family and friends, trophies or awards hung up, or your favorite cartoon magnets on the fridge add that little something that completes each room.